Champ de Bataille

Flame throwers in the Noorderplantsoen





The German defenders have constructed trenches in the southern part of the Noorderplantsoen – mostly through forced labor. They were reinforced by the soldiers who had been chased from the Kraneweg by the Canadians. An anti-aircraft gun has also been installed in both the Music Dome and the Kerklaan/ Grote Kruissingel intersection.

A German officer, in which there are three other officers and a soldier, gives orders from a car. The soldier shoots at any civilian who ventures into the positions. Bunkers have been built along the northern slope, the so-called Hooge Berg, and trenches and manholes are also located in the part between Nieuwe Boteringestraat and Nieuwe Ebbingestraat. On the corner of Nieuwe Ebbingestraat, on the side of Mr Gerbers' cigar shop, the Germans have made a wide earthen wall behind which they hide.

The soldiers of the Black Watch of Canada know that the Noorderplantsoen is heavily defended when they succeed in attacking the Germans in the flank via backyards on Sunday afternoon 15 April 1945. The Germans are taken by surprise. The fighting lasts almost two hours. At the end of the afternoon, the Canadians deployed armored vehicles with flamethrowers.

Despite heavy machine gun fire, Lieutenant Walter Harold Sparrow drives from the Naussaulaan towards the Oranjesingel and the edge of the Noorderplantsoen opposite the German positions. He then coordinates the so-called WASP flamethrowers, which aim a beam of fire at the Germans. While coordinating this attack, he exposes himself, making him extremely vulnerable to enemy fire. This is necessary to maintain personal contact with its sections. While busy with his task, one of the WASP carriers is hit by shellfire. The crew is injured. At the risk of his own life, Sparrow rushes to the carrier, which is still under fire. He pulls the driver aside, gets behind the wheel and brings the crew to safety. The battle is over in half an hour.

Several Germans want to surrender and sit on the edge of the trenches. Unfortunately, at that moment the battle is still in full swing, causing several soldiers to die. During the storming of the Noorderplantsoen, a soldier from The Black Watch was killed and 7 were injured. The Canadians made 247 German prisoners of war. Sparrow later receives the Bronze Lion medal.